ALBANY PARK — A group of tenants forced to move out of their Albany Park apartment building after it was sold announced their intention to sue the new owners.
The tenants, who formed the Kimball Tenants Union, plan to file a lawsuit against Stark Holdings LLC over what they say are unjust evictions.
“The [union] has worked for months to convince Stark and their employee, Julie Fritzshall, to communicate with the union and negotiate in good faith,” the union said in a release Wednesday. “Stark has remained silent, even when [the union’s] lawyer reached out to the company.”
Property records show the apartment building at 4841-4853 N. Kimball Ave. was bought by Stark on Feb. 13 for $4.65 million. Stark manages the property using a subsidiary named Albany Parkers LLC, according to state records.
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On April 19, tenants of the building were given a letter telling them they had to move out by the end of August. That’s why residents of 4841-4853 N. Kimball Ave. organized a union to fight what they say are the disrespectful treatment by the apartment building’s current managers.
In protest of the letter they received and the poor condition of the building — tenants say mold, broken pipes and other issues have not been addressed — the tenant union held a rent strike on July 12. The goal was to get Stark to address their concerns by speaking to them face to face.
When tenants received a 5-day eviction notice posted on their doors, they ended the strike before their eviction deadline and paid rent on July 16.
Stark also manages apartment buildings in Albany Park, North Park, Lincoln Park and Lincoln Square. The listed rental price for a one-bedroom apartment at their 5354-5358 N. Kimball Ave. location is $1,295 per month, according to Zillow.
At the end of last month the union also attempted to meet with representatives from Stark by arranging an apartment showing at one of the company’s properties. During the Aug. 23 showing, members of the union and an attorney from the nonprofit Community Activism Law Alliance were again unsuccessful in speaking to anyone from Stark, according to the union.
Throughout the process, the union says Stark has not met with the building’s tenants to address their concerns about the building, being asked to leave, the evictions or a possible increase in rent if they can remain.
“Because of this deafening silence, coupled with the months of gross negligence of the property, [the union] intends to file a complaint against the company in Cook County chancery court Thursday, demanding consequences for their actions including revoking their brokerage licence and bringing forth criminal charges,” said the release.
The union plans to hand deliver a copy of their lawsuit to Fritzshall Thursday.
Representatives from Stark did not return a request for comment.
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